Meet the Dojin Music Makers of M3 

Here at AmiAmi, "M3" is code for "Moe, mecha and more." But in the dojin music scene everyone knows it as a biannual music media-mix market. M3 began in 1998 as been Japan's premiere event for independent tunes and it continues to grow without sign of stopping. Over 1200 vendors filled the Tokyo Ryutsu Center to capacity at the October 26th convention. One afternoon is hardly enough time to cover everything so consider this post our best hits compilation.

If it's an instrument, it has a place at M3. From bagpipes to bass guitars to bassoons you'll find every device imaginable if you know where to look--or how to listen. Follow your ear to the live performance hall where bands battle to be heard over the noise and the KORG industry booth holds a rave in the center of the chaos. Danbocchi was there with sound-proof isolation chambers to serve as work spaces for serious music producers but some people used them as a noise-cancelling bomb shelter.

EHAMIC had Vocaloid on vinyl. 

RISK SYSTEM put R.O.B. back to work.

Chiptune, Vocaloid, Toho and their subsequent remixes form the core of the dojin community. There's too many artists with too many different styles to list so you should explore the booth directory on the M3 homepage. Click on the button “サークルリストを全て開く" to open the descriptions then search for your niche by keyword.

Check out Takepod for traditional Miku, Unchiku Company for orchestral arrangements of Toho tracks, and Hydden for chiptunes from the best retro game you've never played.

ArsMagnA is astory album about witches and a magic book.

33.turbo offers surf rock performed by a loli doll.

The electronic guts of Poplab Records.

Once you leave the hall of traditional dojin tunes it's all unexplored terrain. Everything else is lumped together as "original content," which can range from drama CDs to studio musicians to hardcore techno played over a toilet flushing.

We were really impressed by Glariz, a doom drone act that worships Homura as their dark goddess, Ikigusare and his homemade cyclops sisters, Joint Sync Memory, a Kalfina cover band and the moe-kyun voice tracks of Higeichi Web.

 

Every exhibitor has a story to tell. Hibiku Yamamura is an up and coming voice actress best known as the arrogant and aloof Haruna from Arpeggio of Blue Steel. Turns out the real Hibiku is nothing like her on-screen persona. As a child she idolized Satoshi (Ash Ketchum) from Pokemon for his positive mental attitude. In her search for a way to be more like the character, she discovered the exciting world of seiyuu and never looked back. 

Like many independent artists she puts a lot of time into self promotion. Aside from semi-regular live broadcasts on TwitCast she also tours events such as M3 to hold-meet-and-greets with fans. Her booth featured listening stations to sample her songs in HD, but is it enough to help her stand out from the crowd? Check out the clip from her new single, Plastic Shoes, and see if she doesn't hit your sweet spot. 

If you're living in Japan you can cheer for her in person at her December 27th show at Planet K in Kichijoji. Let's wish her the best!

On the other side of the spectrum you have established acts such as Mosaic.wav. Vocalist MIIKO and composer Susumu Kayamori have been making frantic electro tracks since 2004 while keeping close to their counterculture roots. They translate the visual noise of Akihabara into chaotic layers of rhythm and sugary-sweet vocals. Yes, MIIKO sings the way maid cafe staff speak.

Somehow they found a way to make pop music as grating as garage punk. But stick with it and your ears will get used to the tweaked out treble and breakneck beeps. Your iTunes library may start to look boring in comparison. If that happens you're left with only one option--head to M3 and dig up even crazier sounds!

M3 official homepage: http://www.m3net.jp/
M3 artist information: http://www.m3net.jp/attendance/circle.html

Preview: STREET FIGHTER BISHOUJO - Juri 1/7 Complete Figure by Kotobukiya

-----Based on our Japanese blog-----

This is Meshi, here to serve up another heaping helping of figure previews. The Street Fighter franchise has one of the longest histories in gaming but today’s is a relatively new challenger who debuted  in Super Street Fighter IV. What happens when a voluptuous villainess get the bishoujo treatment? Let's dig in and find out!

STREET FIGHTER BISHOUJO - Juri 1/7 Complete Figure [Kotobukiya]

Juri is a full-figured femme fatale who doesn’t give a.... care! Get a load of that cocky pose! Oh well, I suppose if I'm going to beat up by a girl this is how I'd like her to look.

Lots of details, ahem, pop out at you, but what sets her apart from other fighters is her unique tip-toe stance, hairstyle and arrogant expression.

What a face, and just in time for Halloween! I don't know what it looks like to have the respect of the fairer sex but I'm positive it's nothing like this. While she decides whether to kill me or eat me first, take a moment to admire the mouth sculpt--they even gave her teeth!

Obligatory side-boob shots. Juri's a quick character, but just imagine how fast she would move if she wasn't carrying all the extra weight.

From the butt, er, back side we see the spider motif on her top and the pink leotard under her harem pants. I challenge you to find a better ambassador for the exotic erotic figure category!

The elaborate costume seems like it would hinder her fighting more than help it, but I guess that's what separates the girls from the psychotic assassinesses. Either way, Kotobukiya nailed it.

Forgive me for heavy-kicking a dead horse but this chest is as inflated as her ego. Good thing she's got a solid core to support it! Looking at the how the straps squeeze the sides in. I can't help but long for more fetish-friendly bishoujo figures.

Unleash a focus attack by concentrating your display lighting from the side! Ironically the details on this figure really shine when you turn the lights down.

"Come on! You're not done already, are you?"

STREET FIGHTER BISHOUJO - Juri 1/7 Complete Figure [Kotobukiya]

(C)CAPCOM U.S.A.,INC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. This product is manufactured and sold by KOTOBUKIYA utilizing Capcom U.S.A.'s intellectual property, under license by CAPCOM U.S.A.

*Photos are of a prototype and the actual product may differ.

News Roundup for October 30th, 2014

Black Snowflake on My Tongue

Black Butler Cake

Pamper yourself this holiday season and bring on some hired help with this Black Butler: Book of Circus Christmas cake. The sponge cake has strawberry cream in the middle and fresh framboise on top. Oh, it tickles my taste buds just to say it! Framboise! You'll have to wash the dish yourself but at least you get to keep it along with the art printed on it.

Official homepage: http://animesugar.jp/item/44.html

Pink Sugar Heart Attack

The upcoming Twinkle Dolly line of Sailor Moon character charms lives up to its name with a shiny pearl coating on each item. Look for them in convenience stores next January. If the pack-in ramune candy pellets don't rot your teeth, the cute smiles of the chibi scouts will!

Official homepage: http://www.bandai.co.jp/candy/products/2015/4543112912565.html

Rock the Dragon Ball T

Cospa is offering Dragon Ball Kai t-shirts and tote bags but only at their Akihabara, Narita and Makuhari locations! My all-over print button downs have gotten ratty over the years so I'm in the market for a new way to say, "I love Goku!"

Official homepage: http://www.cospa.com/event/id/9058

Space Out

All you need to make a music video is MS Paint and a lot of patience. Let State-sponsored artist nuQ take you on a cosmic trip through banana space and hook a rainbow ride in a chicken's butt in his animated saga for "Kokoto to Atama," the new single from Chatmonchy. You remember Chatmonchy, right? They did that "Shangri La" song and "Daidai" was the 12th ending for Bleach. This is their first release in two years so I understand if they don't immediately spring to mind.

Official homepage: http://www.chatmonchy.com/

The Original Waifu

These days Rei Ayanami is the go-to pinup girl of anime but before production committees realized they had a fan base to cater to, Clarisse from The Castle of Cagliostro drove otaku wild. Celebrate her elegant design born from Hayao Miyazaki's pure love of 2D woman with these upcoming Lupin III Icahibankuji character goods. Be warned: If Zenigata catches you he'll slap on the cuffs and throw away the key.

Official homepage: http://1kuji.bpnavi.jp/item/875/

Say Hello to Shalom-chan

Cool Japan isn't just for Japan anymore. The Embassy of Israel released an anime-style promotional video to draw in Japanese tourists. But it's not all cute boys, chocolate and spa trips--this tale of two sisters takes a dark turn once the protagonists get a bottle of delicious, award-winning wine in them.

Preview: Kantai Collection -Kan Colle- Rensouhou-chan Plastic Model by Kotobukiya

-----Based on our Japanese blog-----

We a model now!

Hey there, Shizu Mecha here. Good news for admirals and plastic modelers alike--AmiAmi Blog got our hands on an early sample of Kantai Collection's ironclad mascot, Rensouhou-chan!

This is Kotobukiya's first KanColle release, making it twice as exciting! Here we go...

Kantai Collection -Kan Colle- Rensouhou-chan Plastic Model [Kotobukiya]

Don't be fooled by his big personality, this little model literally fits in the palm of your hand! At just 80mm tall he is the perfect size for you desk or the helm of your ship.

This kawaii little guy is as dangerous as he is cute and works his twin cannons to keep Shimakaze and the rest of the fleet out of harm's way. Sometimes he gets a little banged up, though, so Kotobukiya included these optional damaged parts too! Battle ravaged or not the sharp detail on this model deserve a 21-gun salute!

The game features large, medium and small Rensouhou-chans with the big guys wearing life savers. Suit this one up and have hours of fun with his propeller and optional poseable feet! The included life saver doesn't come with any decals so you'll have to use a marker to write in your waifu’s name like we did in the photo above.

In addition to the normal, chuickling and damaged face plates as seen above, the production version will include a blank expression. If you buy three to recreate scenes from the game you'll have plenty of choices on how to display them!

Make him into a medium Rensouhou-chan by sliding on this butt (?) part. From there you can switch to the |><| face to make him a small one.

For such a tiny model he sure is posable! And CUTE! And CHARMING! And...

LEWD! Just kidding, it's not what it looks like. You can plug him into a Flying 3 or other action bases for even more posing possibilities!

No need for violence when you can kill the enemy with cuteness! With all the optional parts Rensouhou-chan's a veritible armada of adorable. You don't have to be a seasoned admiral to put him together, either. This simple kit is ideal for your first tour into modeling.

And now for my favorite shot...

He's beside himself with joy over becoming a model!

Upgrade your KanColle fleet by adding this hyper poseable offering from Kotobuiya to the front lines!

Kantai Collection -Kan Colle- Rensouhou-chan Plastic Model [Kotobukiya]

(C) 2014 DMM.com/KADOKAWA GAMES All Rights Reserved.
*Photos are of a prototype and the actual product may differ.

Kotobukiya Screens New Line of Scream Queens

Trick or treat! The Kotobukiya store in Akihabara is handing out cheesecake this Halloween courtesy of Shunya Yamashita, the artist behind the DC Comics Bishoujo line of scale figures. Come on in, don't be scared. His Horror Bishoujo designs for the recently released Freddy and Jason aren't as deadly as their movie counterparts, though they will haunt your dreams. Check out the galleries of Yamashita's production sketches to see how Kotobukiya brings his fantasy from the page to your figure shelf.

Freddy Krueger and Jason Vorhees

Batgirl

Huntress

Batwoman

Catwoman

Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn

Starfire

Power Girl

Supergirl

Wonder Woman

Armored Wonder Woman

The exhibit was decorated like a haunted house complete with spider webs, gravestones and retro Halloween party tunes. We saved the scariest part for last: The Black Canary and Zatanna figures won't be ready until next year! AAAHH! In the meantime, follow Yamashita's work on his homepage and in the "Plastic Angels" column in Armor Modeling magazine.

Event dates: October 25th-November 3rd
Address: 1-8-8 Soto Kanda, Chiyoda-ku Tokyo  
Hours: 10:00-20:00
Official homepage: http://www.kotobukiya.co.jp/event/event-25205/